While the startup ecosystem in Boston is flourishing, it's still too hard for undergrads to secure that small seed investment that will move their ventures forward.
Some of the best founders of our generation got their start as students in Boston. It's a truly special place.
We're a student partnership that invests $5-25K into the most talented and driven student tech entrepreneurs in Boston. Our talented student team, accomplished advisors, and driven portfolio companies are here to help you take your business to the next level.
Our student team is here to make your idea a reality. With experience ranging from hardware hacking to growth hacking, public relations and press to UI and UX design, our team is at your disposal any day of the week.
Peter is a recent Harvard graduate and co-founder of Rough Draft Ventures. Before launching RDV, he helped rally the tech community at Harvard through his work directing HackHarvard and Harvard College Venture Partners. Prior to this, Peter has worked at NYC-based startup Skillshare, helped found personal finance platform GoGirl Finance, and worked on technology partnerships and marketing at Bad Boy Entertainment.
Emma is a senior at Boston University studying Public Relations and Sociology. She has previously worked with companies like Foursquare, Uber, General Assembly, and Etsy. This past summer, Emma also participated in Lerer Ventures’ Summer School VC program.
John is a senior at Tufts University studying economics and teaching a freshman seminar on startups and technology. He works part-time for Twitter out of their Cambridge office and spent last summer interning for the company in NYC. Before Twitter, John took time off from school to work full-time for an early stage software startup in Boston.
Erica is an MBA candidate at the MIT Sloan School of Management, co-founder of peer-to-peer delivery service Deliverish, and an active contributor to Forbes and Mashable. She holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing and international business from the NYU Stern School of Business and previously managed social media for The New York Times and technology startups Contently and WeHostels.
Zach is a senior at Harvard majoring in computer science. A designer and developer, he spent his last summer at Jawbone. He is also a member of the newest class of Thiel Fellows, and will be taking two years off starting in December. Previously at Harvard, he served on the boards of HackHarvard, HCVP, and was a student representative for the Harvard Innovation Lab.
Katie is a Sophomore at MIT studying Computer Science. She spent this summer as an Information Security Intern at Square, and currently is a Web Developer for the Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. She is one of the lead organizers and founders of HackMIT, a 1000-person annual hackathon, and co-directed Startup Bootcamp 2013.
Kasey Uhlenhuth is a senior at Harvard majoring in computer science. She is president of the entrepreneurship and venture capital club Harvard College Venture Partners. Outside of HCVP, Kasey played on Harvard’s varsity women’s lacrosse team for three years. She has worked for multiple startups and spent her last summer working at a growth equity firm in Boston.
Jacob is a Junior at Northeastern studying economics and computer science. He returned to school this fall after taking the last year off class to work at PerkStreet financial, solo backpack in Southeast Asia for two months and work as a Hackstar at TechStars where he joined PillPack as a product developer. At Northeastern he is a tech mentor at IDEA and helps run NUhacks.
Pratik is an MBA candidate at the Harvard Business School. He most recently worked with the mobile growth team at Airbnb before which he co-founded two startups in India. He holds a Bachelor’s in Technology degree in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.
Juliana is a senior at Olin College of Engineering studying electrical and computer engineering. During school, she works part-time at Startup Institute on the rapid development of technical curricula. This past summer, she worked on CS research at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and has previously interned at AMD and Mozaic Design. At Olin, she helps run The Foundry and teach Mobile Proto, Olin’s student-run class in Android development.
Nitesh is a co-founder of Rough Draft Ventures and an investor at General Catalyst where he focuses on early-stage technology businesses. Nitesh started his first business called Summer Workation while he was a student at Harvard. He was later on the founding team of Getaround, while he was a student at Singularity University. As an investor, Nitesh actively works with many companies that were founded by student entrepreneurs including: Getaround, Handybook, Mark43 and Locu (acquired by GoDaddy).
Turner is a senior at MIT studying physics with a concentration in computer science. Over the past two years he has directed and advised StartLabs as well as founded and run the first Spokes America project. During past summers he has worked as a software engineer with LiveLoop and a small group called Factory. With a persistent interest in video games, art, and design, Turner has also had his hand in some more obscure projects, such as Psychobunnies.
Technical Machine is enabling software developers to do hardware development with their platform Tessel.
Valet.io helps nonprofits raise more money both in person and online by making the donation process fast and trackable.
FindIt is the easiest way to find emails and files across your cloud accounts using your phone.
Nightingale is a health technology company developing data-driven solutions to improve the quality of patient care.
RequestNow is a song requesting service that serves as a unique branding and marketing utility for DJs.
Our team of advisors and mentors is world-renowned—they're business leaders who have founded companies worth billions of dollars.
Neil Blumenthal is one of the founders of Warby Parker. As the former director of non-profit VisionSpring, Neil spent the better part of 5 years giving glasses to people living on less than $4 per day who otherwise would not be able to see. A native of New York City, Neil is a Leo, enjoys long walks in the park, and is a big Hall and Oates fan.
Dharmesh is the founder and CTO of HubSpot, a Boston based company providing marketing software for small businesses. The company has over 3,000 customers, 170 employees, and was voted the best company to work for in Boston in 2010. Dharmesh is also the co-author of book "Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs" published by Wiley in October, 2009. Dharmesh has a B.S. in Computer Science from UAB and an M.S. in the Management of Technology from MIT.
Kevin worked at Facebook, where he was the first sales executive and among the company's first ten employees. Kevin's various internet 1.0 companies included StartingPage.com, LiveService.com and PhotoMasterpieces. While in college in Boston, Colleran co-Founded BlabberForce Enterprises, a company that recruited student entrepreneurs on college campuses (called 'Blabbermouths') and gave them the tools to start their own grassroots marketing companies on their own campuses.
Helen is a co-founder of iRobot and currently CEO of CyPhyWorks. She is a Trustee of the Museum of Science (Boston); on the Computer Science Advisory Board of Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and a Director of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).
David is the Chief Product Officer of Hubspot. Before joining HubSpot, David was the CEO of Performable, a next-generation marketing automation software platform. Prior to Performable, David was the co-founder and CTO of Lookery, the founder and CTO of Compete, which was acquired by WPP(LON:WPP), and the CTO of BuyerZone, which was acquired by Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK). In the late 90s, David was part of the founding team of Bolt.com and part of Lycos.
Raymie Stata was the Chief Technology Officer at Yahoo!. Prior to joining Yahoo!, he founded Stata Laboratories, maker of the Bloomba search-based e-mail client and the SAProxy anti-spam filter, which he sold to Yahoo! in October 2004 . Stata is an alumnus of MIT, where he received bachelor's and master's degrees in Computer Science and Engineering in 1991, and a Ph.D. in 1996.
Paula Long is the CEO and co-founder of DataGravity. She previously co-founded storage provider EqualLogic. Paula served as Vice President of Product Development at Heartland Robotics. Prior to Heartland Paula was Co-Founder and EVP of Products and Strategy at EqualLogic which was acquired by Dell for $1.4 billion in 2008. She is a graduate of Westfield State College.
David Gilboa is one of the founders of Warby Parker. Like a Viking from his Swedish homeland, Dave spends his free time seeking adventure. His two most recent conquests include trekking across Antarctica and becoming the fastest person to ever run a marathon in a flamingo costume. He aspires to one day summit Everest while wearing his trusty monocle.
Jason is the founder & CEO of RunKeeper, a mobile fitness platform that enables runners and other fitness enthusiasts to get motivated, stay motivated, and improve their results over time. Prior to founding RunKeeper, Jason worked for 10 years in small, high-growth technology companies, always longing for the day when he could start his own. He holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Babson College, where he was an Olin Fellow.
Here are some common questions we get about Rough Draft.
We want to be easily accessible. We are at campus events, startups events, class demo days, and general networking events. You can fill out our contact form below or write to us individually at the email addresses in our bios.
We currently limit investments to Greater Boston area colleges and universities. Undergrads, graduate students, and MBAs all qualify. At least one of the main founders has to be student. We want to focus on investments with a heavy software focus, including hardware/software systems companies.
Neither! We are an investment fund, investing in student startups at the earliest stage. We do have an awesome group of advisors comprising of big names in the tech industry, and mentors who know their stuff well. We help our portfolio companies, and other students, by removing the seemingly trivial barriers that hinder student entrepreneurship. Let us know how we can be helpful, and we'll do everything we can to help move your venture forward.
We want to fund more student startups, not fewer. We will provide the initial small amount of funding needed to build products and get student startups off the ground (e.g. to get access to certain data, buy iPads for development, run design competitions, hire part-time expertise, pay for summer rent, etc.) Each investment is made on a case-by-case basis, depending on what the startup needs.
We invest on extremely simple terms: convertible loan with no discount and no cap. General Catalyst has provided no-strings attached funding for this initiative.
We only invest in the earliest stage of a company and do not provide follow-on financing beyond the first investment. Some of our best investments might join Y-combinator, TechStars, other accelerators, or just raise more money from other investors and continue on. When appropriate, Rough Draft will happily facilitate introductions to angel, seed, and VC investors.
Contact us using our contact form below.
We write and cross-post our portfolio announcements, startup news, and student entrepreneurship posts on Medium. Here are our most recent posts:
Wednesday December 04, 2013
Tim, Jia, Jon, Kelsey, and Eric: Congratulations on raising 1M!
Tuesday November 12, 2013
Hoisting himself atop a table, serial entrepreneur and Koa Labs founder Andy Palmer addressed a room full of student entrepreneurs at the…
Thursday November 07, 2013
At Rough Draft Ventures, we invest in Boston’s top student startups.
Wednesday November 06, 2013
There’s a certain feeling you look for when meeting a founder for the first time.
If you want to create the next world-changing company, let's talk. Fill out this form and we'll get in touch—coffee's on us. If you're not founding a company, you can email us at [email protected].